mens basketball vs northern Illinois

Sophomore guard Rasir Bolton brings the ball up the court during Iowa State’s 70-52 victory over Northern Illinois on Nov. 12 at Hilton Coliseum.

Iowa State lost two of its three games in the Battle 4 Atlantis Wednesday through Friday, but it wasn’t all bad for coach Steve Prohm and the Cyclones after they lost two of three games against Michigan, Alabama and No. 13 Seton Hall.

While the Cyclones were close to having a successful tournament, there are still some positives to pick up from this tournament for Iowa State’s side.

Michigan was under-ranked

Those who watched the first game of the tournament for Iowa State might’ve thought Iowa State’s defense must be terrible. The Wolverines shot 57.7 percent on 30-52 shooting from the field. They coupled that output with a blistering 47.6 percent (10-21) from beyond the arc.

Iowa State couldn’t find a way to stop Zavier Simpson at point guard, as the senior totaled 10 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds. The Wolverines were unranked, which landed questions to Iowa State’s talent level after a seven-point loss.

Michigan didn’t stop there.

Against No. 6 North Carolina, Michigan held on for a nine-point win thanks to junior Eli Brooks, who scored 24 points in 39 minutes for the Wolverines. The win set Michigan up for a date with No. 8 Gonzaga where the Wolverines played their best game yet.

Michigan stomped the Bulldogs with a convincing 82-64 win. The Wolverines were aided by an excellent shooting performance where they saw 54 percent of their baskets fall. They added to this with superb three-point shooting where they hit 12-23 — good for 52.2 percent.

Jon Teske led the team with 19 points and 15 rebounds.

Iowa State had the closest game against Michigan in the tournament. The Wolverines will likely shoot up in the rankings after a dominating performance in one of the more prestigious non-conference tournaments.

Three-point shooting takes a leap

Iowa State before this tournament looked lost when it came to long distance shooting. The Cyclones finished multiple games with dreadful three-point percentages.

After a 5-21 first game against Michigan, Iowa State found its stride and hit 15-29 long distance shots against Alabama. Sophomore guard Rasir Bolton snapped his slump by going 5-7 from deep while sophomore guard Tyrese Haliburton found some luck with a 4-7 outing from deep.

Against Seton Hall the Cyclones cooled down a bit, but they were able to connect on 9-27 from three, which is an improvement on their poor start to the season. Haliburton connected on 3-5 three-pointers.

Iowa State scored over 100 points in its first game where it shot well from three — against Alabama. Consistency in that area should be a main focus for Prohm and the team.

Tryese Haliburton drive

Sophomore guard Tyrese Haliburton drives to the hoop during Iowa State’s 73-45 victory over Southern Mississippi on Nov. 19 at Hilton Coliseum.

Haliburton impresses

Haliburton had 67 points combined in the three games. He scored 25 against Michigan and 23 against Seton Hall. Haliburton went 10-22 from three-point land in the series and 26-48 overall in the three contests.

Haliburton also totaled 21 assists, 23 rebounds and seven steals over the three-day stretch. The sophomore was all over the place for the Cyclones in three tough non-conference games against major opponents.

It wasn’t enough to win more than just one game, but Haliburton added to his already solid season by shoring up his three-point percentage and doing more on the scoring end.

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